Sometime, in the not-so distant future, the humans of Earth create robots. In the beginning, the machines were used for laboring purposes. As technology evolved, so did the abilities of the robots, and they acquired many human-like senses and techniques. All was well, until one day, an evil force began turning the friendly beings into bloodthirsty scraps of metal. The human’s technology turned on them.
Who can save us? Who can make things right again? What the Earth needs is a true hero; one of strength, honor, and wisdom.
What does the Earth get? An annoying, overweight amnesiac; born from the sky.
Machine Saga has been around for ages. In fact, it was one of the titles featured in the very first OHRRPGCE Top 30 back in September 2000. It showed signs of promise with its acceptable graphics (which were probably considered very nice back in the day) and a convincing plot outline. So, what happened to it? In my opinion, there was a single but major flaw from the very beginning that ultimately shattered the potential of this game.
First, let’s talk about some things that Machine Saga has to offer. It more or less is a fairly solid title in the cosmetic department. It seems to have been heavily influenced by Fantasy Under a Blue Moon X V.3, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Although some of the graphics are acceptable even by today’s standards, Vertigo cut corners in some places (check out the water tiles in-town for an example). Regardless, it’s safe to say that the author did manage to put effort into some of the graphics.
I’m very surprised that I did not recognize a single song in Machine Saga. Either obscure tracks were chosen or some of the work was original. Either way, some pieces seemed to fit better than others. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the techno-inspired music, and it didn’t fit well with the lazy, waltz-like town music.
Machine Saga should be a fairly simple and straightforward game for those who are veterans of JRPGs. Most of the random encounters are easy enough to overcome, while a couple of the boss fights require you to be quick on the draw in order to survive. The only real complaint I have about the battles are the amount of money given for each victory. It hardly takes any effort to get the best items and stock up on enough restorative items to last you until the Apocalypse.
So it had some strong points, but what was Machine Saga’s downfall? Delivery.
Yep, I would have bought the whole Terminator meets Surrogates story if it were delivered in any other fashion than suck; the main issue being the main hero. I just couldn’t get over his pathetic design. Not only did he have no clue what was going on, ever, but he was annoying as crap. It’s one thing to use the cliche “amnesiac hero” card but it should never be paired with the “inbred retard” one. Constantly asking who people are, where he is, and what he is supposed to be doing is ridiculous. My five year old nephew has more of a sense of purpose than him. You would figure someone born from the skies would have just a little more intelligence than that.
In addition, npc’s are about as generic as they get. Most of them say something like “Howdy!” and walk away. Very few people have something more than a single line to say; even fewer of those give important information. Everything looks like it was written by a third grader and there is very little personality diversity between the heroes.
After playing through Machine Saga, I think it’s safe to conclude that it is in the same category as some of the older games that have decent graphics. For example, the Ends of the Earth series was highly revered back in its day, but recent retrospectives have proven that the titles were actually less than stellar. Not because we have higher standards now, but because for the most part those few titles were nothing more than flashy graphics (for their time). If the same effort that was put into the graphics were channeled into the story, then I think an awesome game could have been created. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and Machine Saga is not really worth your time unless you want to completely ignore the dialogue altogether.